To be able to sit down and talk to 1978 Warrior graduate Leah Bridgeman Jager was a real treat. The enthusiasm that she possesses is infectious.
While at Del Norte High School she was a standout track athlete. Leah started her running career while still in the eighth grade.
Dee Sullivan, a former Warrior coach, recognized Leah’s talent and brought her over to the high school to workout with the high school team. In those days Dee ran the AAU track club that participated in Junior Olympic events.
In 1974, Leah’s freshman year, she placed 3rd in the long jump in her Junior Olympic age group.
In high school. Leah was a league champion during her sophomore and junior years in the 100 yard dash, the 220 yard dash and also as a member of the 4x100 relay team. Leah did not participate during her senior year, as she graduated early, making her ineligible.
We all recognize Leah now for the outstanding job she does with the high school dance program. She started her dance career as a freshman in the program at DNHS that was run by former DNHS teacher Julie Roberts.
After Leah graduated in 1978 she and good friend Janice Yamor enrolled in Orange Coast Junior College in southern California. While at Orange Coast she ran on the sprint relay teams in track.
She also continued her dance interests. She and her friend Janice were recognized as Orange Coast’s most outstanding dancers.
After leaving Orange Coast she enrolled at the University of Santa Barbara, where she received her bachelors’ degree. After Santa Barbara she went to Metro Station University in Denver, Colo., where she earned her teaching credential.
She returned to Crescent City and was given a teaching position at DNHS. She took over the dance program and for the last 22 years has developed what has to be one of the top high school dance programs in the state.
The program started in the multipurpose room at the high school, but it soon became obvious that they needed their own place to work.
Dance students, parents and other community members started fund raising events and with a big help from the school district the Doris Whalen Dance Studio was completed in 1998. This is a class facility.
Now there are five periods of dance every day as part of the physical education program. These classes are always full and what they are able to accomplish is amazing. The room fills at lunch time with students wanting to improve their performance.
Leah is loved and respected by her students and is always available to give them special help. She and her husband have one son who is a junior at DNHS.
Those of us in the Warrior family hope that Leah will stay around as long as Doris Whalen did. Our youth would really like that.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.